BILL GATES: States' Ridiculous Budget And Pension Accounting "Would Make Enron Blush"

Bill and Melinda Gates

Photo: Wikipedia Commons User Kjetil Ree

Microsoft founder Bill Gates said today that state governments needed to adopt “clear and honest” accounting of their budgets, as their true finances threaten America’s public-education system.Speaking at the annual TED conference in Long Beach, California, Mr. Gates said that state budgets should follow more-transparent accounting principles.  The Wall Street Journal reports

“It’s riddled with gimmicks,” Mr. Gates said of the “tricks” states use to balance their budgets. Citing moves such as selling state assets and deferring payments, he said some methods are “so blatant and extreme,” that “Enron would blush,” referring to the energy company that collapsed a decade ago amid an accounting scandal.

The biggest concerns nationwide, he said, are the growing cost of state-funded health-care programs and public workers’ health-care coverage, as well as the way states account for their pension funding. Those obligations threaten the ability to invest in education, Mr. Gates said.

“It is an increasingly difficult picture even assuming the economy does quite well,” Mr. Gates said of the costs.

You can read the full report here.

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